“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well,
and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.”
James H. West
To simply describe the roles that they play in a woman’s life, an obstetrician helps a woman through her pregnancy and in the delivery of the child. A gynecologist, which is often the same person, helps throughout her life with the health of her reproductive tract.
The former will diagnose and prescribe for conditions of the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and other parts involved in the reproductive cycle. The doctor also will help women going through menopause, or who are experiencing unusual menstrual cycles.
When visiting for the first time, you will likely be asked a number of questions concerning your health history and lifestyle. This will help guide him/her in providing you the services that are most beneficial for your particular needs.
When planning your annual visit, be sure you write down and be honest in telling your doctor about any diseases you have suffered, particularly sexually transmitted diseases, and the date of your last PAP smear. Be sure to mention if the PAP smear was abnormal. Also, relate to the doctor what medications, such as birth control, you currently are taking and if you have any allergies to latex or to any medications.
Be aware that your family’s medical history will also be reviewed. Therefore, you will want to gather together information about family members who had diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and the like.
Then you and your doctor will need to discuss your current situation. This can involve birth control use, any symptoms you may be experiencing, whether or not you are trying to become pregnant, and whether you have been experiencing any changes in your menstrual cycle.
Above all, be honest with your doctor about your current lifestyle. This would entail whether or not you smoke or exercise, if you drink and how much, and whether you take illicit drugs. Honesty is rule No. 1.